In The Know: Hooper v City of Tulsa case to continue in district court | Ryan Walters continues attacks on Tulsa schools | Capitol Update

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Senate District 32 special election draws six candidates (Capitol Update): The race to replace Sen. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton, who recently resigned to become CEO of the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, will be interesting and perhaps more competitive than might have been expected, given the short notice to people in the Lawton area. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Hooper v. City of Tulsa case to continue in district court: A significant case about whether cities and towns in eastern Oklahoma have jurisdiction to enforce local laws against tribal citizens in municipal court remains in federal district court, but a statement released Friday by a pair of U.S. Supreme Court justices drew strong remarks from both Gov. Kevin Stitt and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. [NonDoc]

Ryan Walters back in Tulsa to ‘push’ TPS on poor test scores, fiscal management: State Superintendent Ryan Walters staged a second press conference [in Tulsa] Monday to criticize school district leadership amid a looming decision about whether state accreditation for Tulsa Public Schools will be renewed. He said “no decision has been made” about whether he will recommend to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s appointees on the Oklahoma State Board of Education to greenlight a state takeover like the one newly underway in Houston. [Tulsa World]

  • Walters breaks down focus of Tulsa Public Schools’ accreditation decision [KTUL]
  • State Superintendent discusses Tulsa Public Schools’ accreditation status [KFOR]
  • Ryan Walters pushes TPS on test scores as fears about accreditation loss mount [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Sources: Ryan Walters mulls bid for governor amid attacks on TPS [The Black Wall Street Times]

Overflow crowd gives Superintendent Gist a standing ovation at Tulsa school board meeting: Monday marked the local board’s first meeting since the Oklahoma State Board of Education acted on a recommendation from State Superintendent Ryan Walters and delayed taking action on TPS’ accreditation until Aug. 24. Walters’ actions prompted multiple parents and teachers to take to the podium during citizens’ comments Monday to express their frustrations and fears. [Tulsa World]

Column: Here are Tulsa Public Schools achievements no one is talking about: Often, what residents don’t see about governing schools is the most important but often not headline grabbing. It’s about listening to our school communities and focusing on student outcomes. [John Croisant Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

State Government News

‘Then how do you know?’: OSDE does not maintain a list of ‘pornographic’ books found in schools for 2023: After 130 days of waiting on an open records request regarding alleged pornography in schools, the Oklahoma State Department of Education said they do not maintain a list respondent to that. [KFOR]

Federal Government News

U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern discusses Trump indictment, border security during Broken Arrow town hall: During his town hall in Broken Arrow on Monday evening, First District Congressman Kevin Hern said there’s a strange correlation between announcements of former President Donald Trump’s indictments and news about President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

‘Who we are at our core’: Native-owned business creates opportunities for underserved communities: Nestled towards the end of a historic block along Southwest 25th Street in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of OKC, one modest building in particular might be easy to miss. But, day in and day out, Kendra Clements is at the helm of We The People Consulting, LLC, a 100% Native woman-owned, minority, and 2SLGBTQ+ operated company dedicated at helping traditionally underserved communities grow. [KFOR]

Voting and Election News

Oklahomans head to the polls for a smattering of local elections: Elections from Tulsa to Chickasha will determine the fate of a bevy of local projects Tuesday. Voters in 14 counties across Oklahoma are heading to the polls Tuesday to determine the future of school bonds, municipal propositions and more. [KGOU]

  • Everything you need to know about Tuesday’s Improve Our Tulsa 3 vote [Tulsa World]
  • Former mayors voice support for Improve Our Tulsa 3 package headed to voters Tuesday [Tulsa World]

Health News

Oklahoma’s investigation into food-borne parasite indicates romaine lettuce as possible culprit: The Oklahoma State Department of Health is investigating a food-borne parasite that’s infecting more Oklahomans than usual this summer. It’s part of a nationwide uptick in cyclospora-related illness. [KGOU]

Criminal Justice News

AG declines lawmaker’s request to reprocess DNA in Anthony Sanchez death penalty case: Oklahoma’s attorney general has rejected a request from a state lawmaker to reinvestigate DNA evidence in the case of a death row inmate set to be executed in September, saying that recent reprocessing already “conclusively pointed” to his guilt. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Class-action lawsuits target Oklahoma small businesses: Multiple small businesses in the state are part of a wave of accessibility class-action lawsuits nationwide, as retailers with e-commerce sites increasingly are targeted for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. [Journal Record]

Education News

Grading Oklahoma: How do our state’s schools stack up?: Oklahoma ranks 46th for overall well-being and 49th in education, according to Kids Count’s annual report. Here’s a look at the education landscape as a new school year begins in Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman]

Parents question new investments in Oklahoma public schools: Is enough being done?: Thousands of Oklahoma students and educators will go back to class this week with several new investments by the state in education, but some parents aren’t sure if those changes will be enough. With the excitement for a new year comes concern. [KOKH]

  • State initiatives aim to boost Oklahoma’s education system [KTUL]

Column: How Oklahoma Became Ground Zero in the War Over Church-State Separation: While Florida makes headlines for its “war on woke” in public schools, in the war against church-state separation, Oklahoma is the frontline. And on Monday, July 31st, return shots were fired. A group of 10 plaintiffs including clergy, public school parents, and public education advocates filed a lawsuit against state officials and organizations for approving St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School as the nation’s first publicly-funded religious charter school. [Samuel L. Perry Guest Column / Time Magazine]

Column: Christian Nationalists Can’t Wait for This School in Oklahoma to Open: Something deeply un-American is underway in the state of Oklahoma. In June, Oklahoma’s Statewide Virtual Charter School Board approved the nation’s first religious public charter school. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa were given permission to open St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School in August 2024. Seven percent of public school students in the country attended charter schools as of the fall of 2021, and that number continues to grow. That’s why Christian nationalist groups see charter schools as fertile ground for their full-on assault on the separation of church and state in public education. [Rachel Laser Guest Column / New York Times]

General News

Tulsa Race Massacre survivors appeal case to Oklahoma Supreme Court: Survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre are hoping the Oklahoma Supreme Court will hear their case. On Monday, a group of attorneys representing the last remaining survivors of the massacre held a press conference detailing their appeal to the high court. [KGOU]

  • Dismissal of Race Massacre lawsuit appealed to Oklahoma Supreme Court [Tulsa World]
  • Lawyers press for reparations for Tulsa Race Massacre victims [AP via Journal Record]
  • Lawyers want to reopen Tulsa Race Massacre case [KFOR]

Oklahoma listed No. 5 among least expensive states for housing: A typical home in Oklahoma might be valued at around $189,000, making the Sooner State the fifth least expensive for prospective homebuyers in the nation. [Journal Record]

What we know about Oklahoma United Methodist disaffiliation court cases: The congregations of First United Methodist Church of Oklahoma City, 131 NW 4, and United Methodist Church of the Servant, 14343 N MacArthur, have each filed lawsuits against the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference. They have turned to Oklahoma County District Court to seek redress in their quest to end their affiliation with the United Methodist Church. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Integris to take control of hospitals in Ponca City, Woodward [Journal Record]
  • Forbes names Oklahoma City the second-best area in the country for young professionals [KOKH]

Quote of the Day

“Imagine if the Education Department was supporting every Oklahoma school district by creating student outcomes tailored by each local community. The agency could focus on student outcomes, support teachers, help students and add counselors who would address increases in childhood trauma and learning challenges. It is that kind of approach that would attract more businesses and make Oklahoma a more desirable place for families to relocate.”

-John Croisant, Vice Chair of the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Percent of American Indian/Alaska Native children in Oklahoma who have experienced two or more of the following adverse experiences: frequent socioeconomic hardship, parental divorce or separation, parental death, parental incarceration, family violence, neighborhood violence, living with someone who was mentally ill or suicidal, living with someone who had a substance abuse problem or racial bias. The overall state average for all races and ethnicities is 21%. [KIDS COUNT]

Policy Note

Keeping the Child at the Heart of the Circle: Supporting Native Child Welfare: For centuries, Indigenous children in the United States have endured forceful removal from their families and communities. This is not new information. Yet in 2023, Native American children continue to be removed from their families and extended families, their language, culture, and way of life. Such actions also, of course, remove children from their sovereign tribes. [NPQ]

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Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.

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